Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance described the two rulings as ‚Äúthe Roe v. Wade of marriage,‚ÄĚ referring to the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the country.
‚ÄúWhile the justices sit in their high chairs, these decisions will have very real-life consequences for American families, especially as it relates to our religious liberties,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThose who hold a Biblical view of marriage can expect much persecution from the government in the years to come.‚ÄĚ
Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes tweeted ‚ÄúSupreme Court overrules God‚ÄĚ after the justices announced their decisions. He added it ‚Äúwon‚Äôt be long before they (the justices) outlaw the Bible as hate speech.
Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church of Beltsville, Md., also took to social media to criticize the DOMA decision.
‚ÄúLaws cannot be enforced; justice is always the loser,‚ÄĚ he tweeted. ‚ÄúCriminals crowd out honest people and twist the laws around.‚ÄĚ
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops categorized the rulings as “a tragic day for marriage and our nation.
“The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act,” the group, of which New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan is the president, said.
The group is among those who joined National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown; Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse; American Values President Gary Bauer; New York State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr.; and Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition and others at an anti-gay marriage rally on the National Mall in March after the justices heard oral arguments in the Prop 8 case.
‚ÄúBy striking down the federal definition of marriage in DOMA, the court is asserting that Congress does not have the power to define the meaning of words in statutes Congress itself has enacted,‚ÄĚ Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said. ‚ÄúThis is absurd.‚ÄĚ
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who unsuccessfully sought to place a proposed constitutional amendment on her state‚Äôs 2004 ballot that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman, is among the members of Congress who criticized the Supreme Court‚Äôs rulings.
‚ÄúMarriage was created by the hand of God,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúNo man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs pretty hard to believe that the Supreme Court would say that the 85 Senators, 342 members of the House of Representatives, and Democrat President Bill Clinton ‚Äď all who supported DOMA when it was signed into law nearly 20 years ago ‚Äď voted for DOMA literally seeking to injure and impose stigma on gay individuals,‚ÄĚ U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) added. ‚ÄúThat may be the perception of five Justices, but it is simply not true. I‚Äôve always felt that marriage was an issue best left up to each state, and that‚Äôs essentially what the Court ruled today. But this ruling is a disappointment because instead of allowing the American people and their elected representatives to continue the debate about same-sex marriage, the Court instead used its own personal opinion to tip the balance.‚ÄĚ
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court‚Äôs ruling earlier this year that struck down the commonwealth‚Äôs anti-sodomy law, said in a statement the state ‚Äúhas followed the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman for more than 400 years.‚ÄĚ He also noted Virginians in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that banned nuptials for gays and lesbians.
GOProud staffer Holly Parker stands outside the Archives Metro station in D.C. on Friday in support of the March for Life. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
A group of gay conservatives were among those who took part in the annual March for Life in D.C. on Friday.
GOProud members handed out red and white stickers to passersby at the Archives Metro station on Pennsylvania Avenue that read ‚ÄúHello, I‚Äôm… pro life & pro gay” before attending a rally on the National Mall in opposition of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
They then proceeded to march to the U.S. Supreme Court.
‚ÄúSo many in the media when they talk about social issues, they talk about gay marriage and abortion as if it‚Äôs one thing. And the common portrayal is pro-life people are anti-gay for some reason,‚ÄĚ GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia told the Washington Blade as he and a handful of others stood outside the Metro station before the rally. ‚ÄúWe know that that‚Äôs not true; that your position on issues affecting gay people has nothing to do with your position on abortion. Also it gives us a chance to demonstrate for our pro-life people a common ground with other pro-life people who are here who may not be used to seeing gay people talking about this issue.‚ÄĚ
LaSalvia, who pointed out GOProud does not have a position on abortion, stressed he is pro-life.
‚ÄúEverybody has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,‚ÄĚ LaSalvia said. ‚ÄúI think that means gay people and unborn people too.‚ÄĚ
GOProud member Holly Parker noted to the Blade that her younger sister is adopted and she has ‚Äúmultiple friends who have had abortions and have come to regret it.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI‚Äôm just out here for them and for my fighting for pro-life,‚ÄĚ Parker said.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Tennessee Congresswoman Diane Black, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Boston Cardinal Sean O‚ÄôMalley are among those who spoke during the rally that drew hundreds of thousands of people to the Mall. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) addressed participants via a pre-recorded video message.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sponsored an all-night prayer vigil before the March for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast D.C.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve got to stand up for what I am and not for what people want me to be,‚ÄĚ gay D.C. resident Michael Jones told the Blade as he stood outside the Archives Metro station. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve got to stand up for those who can‚Äôt stand up for themselves, like the unborn children.‚ÄĚ
But two of the nation‚Äôs leading anti-gay groups warned that if the BSA‚Äôs board votes next week to drop its ban on gays, as predicted by sources familiar with the Boy Scouts, it would lead to a ‚Äúmass exodus‚ÄĚ of scouts and scout leaders from traditional, religious-oriented families and communities.
In its statement released on Monday, the BSA said the change it was considering would allow the religious, civic and educational organizations that are chartered to operate scouting units throughout the country to make the final decision on¬†whether or not to accept gays.
‚ÄúCurrently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation,‚ÄĚ the statement says.
‚ÄúThis would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization‚Äôs mission, principles, or religious beliefs,‚ÄĚ says the statement.
‚ÄúBSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families,‚ÄĚ it says.
Janelle Moritz, a public relations representative for the Boy Scouts of America, told the Blade she could not confirm the NBC report about the timing of a board meeting or what the board would decide. She said BSA would not comment on the matter beyond what it said in its statement, which doesn‚Äôt say when the group will decide on the issue.
Other news media outlets, however, reported that BSA sources confirmed that the board meeting would take place next week, mostly likely at the BSA national headquarters in Irving, Texas.
‚ÄúThe Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations, and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong,‚ÄĚ said Herndon Graddick, president of¬†the¬†Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. ‚ÄúScouting is a valuable institution and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúThis would be an incredible step forward in the right direction,‚ÄĚ said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of the group Scouts for Equality. ‚ÄúWe look forward to working with BSA Councils and chartering organizations across the country to end the exclusion of our gay brothers in scouting, as well as the gay and lesbian leaders who serve the organizations so well.‚ÄĚ
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Boy Scouts‚Äô expected policy change follows the growing support for LGBT equality from the American people.
‚ÄúThe pulse of equality is strong in America, and today it beats a bit faster with news that the Boy Scouts may finally put an end to its long history of discrimination,‚ÄĚ Griffin said in a statement. ‚ÄúOur nation and its leaders respect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, and it‚Äôs time the Boy Scouts echo those values.‚ÄĚ
A far different response emerged from leaders of the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, two national conservative groups that oppose LGBT rights.
‚ÄúThe Boy Scouts of America board would be making a serious mistake to bow to the strong-arm tactics of LGBT activists and open the organization to homosexuality,‚ÄĚ said FRC President Tony Perkins in a statement.
‚ÄúThe mission of the Boy Scouts is to ‚Äėinstill values in young people‚Äô and ‚Äėprepare them to make ethical choices,‚Äô and the Scouts‚Äô oath includes a pledge ‚Äėto do my duty to God‚Äô and keep himself ‚Äėmorally straight,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt is entirely reasonable and not at all unusual for those passages to be interpreted as requiring abstinence from homosexual conduct.‚ÄĚ
The American Family Associated posted on its website a column by anti-gay advocate Bryan Fischer, who quipped that Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant coach convicted on child molestation charges, would become ‚Äúthe new poster boy‚ÄĚ for the Boy Scouts.
‚ÄúThis move, unless the BSA dramatically reverses itself in the immediate future, represents the capitulation to the forces of sexual deviancy,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe Scouts will have made a deliberate decision to put the sexual integrity of every young man in their care at risk.‚ÄĚ
Within a day of the BSA‚Äôs announcement that it was considering changing its policy on gay scouts and scout leaders, the FRC and the American Family Association posted appeals on their websites urging members and supporters to call the BSA to urge the group to leave its ban on gays in place.
‚ÄúAs the BSA board meets next week, it is crucial that they hear from those who stand with them and their current policy regarding homosexuality,‚ÄĚ FRC said.
Possibly in anticipation of strong opposition by conservative and religious groups, the BSA emphasized in its own statement that the change would allow local units to decide whether or not to admit gays.
‚ÄúThe Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a policy to units, members, or parents,‚ÄĚ the statement says. ‚ÄúUnder this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization‚Äôs mission, principles or religious beliefs.‚ÄĚ
The BSA website says more than 100,000 scouting units are owned and operated by independent chartered organizations.
‚ÄúOf these, 64.9 percent of all units are chartered to faith-based organizations, 22.7 percent of all units are chartered to civic organizations, and 7.9 percent of all units are chartered to educational organizations,‚ÄĚ it says.
It says the chartered organizations are responsible for providing meeting facilities, providing ‚Äúquality leadership for the scouting unit,‚ÄĚ and appointing a representative to coordinate unit operations
A list of BSA chartered organizations posted on its website shows a wide range of religious and civic groups that are likely to differ on whether or not to admit gay scouts and scout leaders.
Among them are the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and ‚ÄúBaptist Churches,‚ÄĚ which traditionally have condemned homosexuality. Others, however, include the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church and Lutheran churches, which have had more accepting policies toward LGBT people.
Civic groups listed on the BSA website as chartered organizations include local Chambers of Commerce, Lions and Rotary clubs, American Legion organizations, Boys‚Äô and Girls‚Äô Clubs, YMCA groups, ‚Äúnon-profit agencies,‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúhome owners‚ÄĚ groups.
The BSA‚Äôs statement saying it is considering removing its national policy banning gay scouts and scout leaders comes seven months after the BSA announced it had conducted a two-year review of the ban and decided to leave it in place.
Monday‚Äôs announcement also comes after several prominent corporations, including United Parcel Service and Intel Corporation, withdrew as BSA financial sponsors, saying the gay ban violated their corporate polices of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Others opposing the Boy Scouts ban on gays have organized online petition drives that have gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures calling on the BSA to drop its gay ban.
Sharon Brackett, co-founder and board chair of the statewide transgender advocacy organization Gender Rights Maryland, said she experienced firsthand how at least some Boy Scout troops and the chartered organizations that operate them are LGBT supportive.
Brackett said she served as a scout master for the local Boy Scout troop in Savage, Md., where her sons were members, before she transitioned from male to female. She said after taking a break during her transition period, the troop and a local Methodist church that served as the chartered organization, welcomed her back once she completed her gender transition.
‚ÄúMy experience has been positive,‚ÄĚ she said, noting that women have long served as Boy Scout troop leaders and officials in the chartered organization covering her area had no problem with her coming back.
Brackett said she supports the proposed change by the BSA to leave it up to the chartered organizations to decide whether gay scouts or troops can be admitted. At least in Maryland, she said, there are enough local troops and chartered organizations to choose from that would result in gay youth finding one that will be welcoming.
‚ÄúHaving that choice is the best next step for us at this time,‚ÄĚ she said.
Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, who has been held in jail since his arrest last August, signed a charging document before appearing in court on Wednesday confirming that he intended to commit a mass killing at the FRC building, a federal prosecutor said in court.
‚Äú[C]orkins targeted the Family Research Council because of its political views, including its advocacy against recognition of gay marriage,‚ÄĚ according to a statement released Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney‚Äôs office.
‚ÄúHe entered the building with the intention of shooting and killing as many employees of the organization as he could,‚ÄĚ the statement says.
The wounded security guard has been credited by D.C. police and the FBI with saving the lives of FRC employees working on the building‚Äôs upper floors by wrestling Corkins to the floor and taking away the semi-automatic handgun Corkins wielded while attempting to gain access to the elevator.
The guard suffered a gunshot wound to the arm and has undergone several rounds of surgery in connection with the injury.
In addition to the terrorism charge, Corkins pleaded guilty to charges of assault with intent to kill while armed and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition. He faces a potential maximum sentence of 70 years in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 29.
Corkins, who worked for a short time as a volunteer at D.C.‚Äôs LGBT Community Center in 2011, has not disclosed his sexual orientation.
In new information released this week, the U.S. Attorney‚Äôs office said police and FBI agents investigating the case found a handwritten list on Corkins‚Äô possession containing the names of the Family Research Council and ‚Äúthree other organizations that openly identify themselves as having socially conservative agenda.‚ÄĚ The U.S. Attorney‚Äôs office didn‚Äôt identify the other organizations, saying only that Corkins intended to target them had he succeeded in his planned shooting at the FRC.
Prosecutors also disclosed for the first time that Corkins returned to a gun store in Virginia where he purchased the gun on the night before he arrived at the FRC building and engaged in shooting practice.
Authorities previously disclosed that they had discovered in Corkins‚Äô backpack a box of 50 rounds of 9 mm ammunition and 15 individually wrapped sandwiches he bought the previous day from Chik-fil-A.
Floyd Lee Corkins II was accused of shooting a security guard inside the Family Research Council‚Äôs headquarters building in August. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)
In the statement released on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney‚Äôs office disclosed that Corkins told FBI agents interviewing him after his arrest that he planned to ‚Äúsmother the Chick-fil-A sandwiches‚ÄĚ into the faces of the FRC employees he intended to shoot.
In a separate court filing last week, prosecutors disclosed that they searched of Corkins‚Äô family computer at the Herndon home where he lived with his parents. The computer search showed that he apparently obtained the list of socially conservative groups he planned to target, including the FRC, from the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
SPLC has listed FRC as a hate group based, among other things, on its portrayal of homosexuality and gay people as being associated with pedophilia.
In a statement released on Wednesday, FRC President Tony Perkins reiterated his earlier assertion that Southern Poverty Law Center was responsible for creating a climate that led to someone like Corkins seeking to commit violence.
‚Äú[I] stated that while Corkins was responsible for the shooting, he had been given a license to perpetrate this act of violence by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center which has systematically and recklessly labeled every organization with which they disagree as a ‚Äėhate group,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Perkins said.
Southern Poverty Law Center officials have denounced Perkins for misrepresenting their position, saying they never label an organization as a hate group based on political views or public policy positions. SPLC officials have said they list FRC as a hate group for what they say are its false and defamatory claims linking homosexuality and LGBT people to pedophilia.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins described this newspaper‚Äôs decision to publish the names of those who signed the petition as ‚Äúnothing short of intimidation.‚ÄĚ Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Action Counsel, accused the Blade of ‚Äúhomo terrorism.‚ÄĚ The Blade also received threatening phone calls and e-mails after it published the names on its website on July 12.
Maryland Gov. Martin O‚ÄôMalley told the Blade last month when asked about the controversy that he didn‚Äôt know whether ‚ÄúI‚Äôm qualified to comment on journalistic ethics.‚ÄĚ Transgender activist Dana Beyer also questioned the Blade‚Äôs decision to publish the names of those who signed the petition that were publicly available on July 12, but gay columnist Andrew Sullivan defended the Blade.
‚ÄúSome argue that this is a tool for intimidation or a violation of privacy,‚ÄĚ he wrote. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm afraid I cannot see that. Signing a political petition is a public act. If you are ashamed of trying to deny your fellow citizens their civil rights, you probably shouldn‚Äôt have signed the petition in the first place.‚ÄĚ